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Use of the Central Park Carousel in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

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People, places, songs, and even simple items such as a stuffed animal, a pillow, or a blanket can foster a person’s memory and take them back to a memory they hold dearly in their hearts. Often, such items of remembrance are used to bring back a person to their carefree and blissful childhood years. For many Americans, the Central Park Carousel in New York brings back memories of the entertainment of growing up in New York, and the wonderful memories of birthdays, family gatherings, and more. This historic carousel remains a timeless memory for those who enjoyed its delightful music, gleaming horses, and cheery atmosphere-never failing to bring a smile to ones face. A classic landmark in Central Park, the Central Park carousel has intregrated itself into the hearts of Americans. In his classic American novel, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger puts such memories into writing through the relationship between Holden and Phoebe, and uses the carousel as a primary symbol in the novel, enhancing the overall theme.
From the sweet scent of popcorn and the soft melody of the historic band organ, the carousel remains a classic part of Central Park, in New York. However, the carousel’s historic features are not the only aspects of why the carousel is so timeless, but those who work there as well. Salvatore Napolitano, 54, is an attendant and vendor at the carousel, and has been working there since 1970, when he was only fifteen years old, giving up admission into three law schools, just for the chance to continue working at the carousel and seeing the happiness it brings to those who are able to partake in its majestic ride (Martin 1). In an interview, he stated that one of the most heart wrenching things he had ever seen in his life...


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...tral Park Carousel far more meaningful, by incorporating the literal symbolism of a carousel, as well as using it to fit into the situation of the main character of the novel, Holden. By tying in the universal concept of the rough transition from childhood to adulthood, Salinger touches each and every reader allowing them to view carousels in a completely different light. Similarly to what Salinger inferred in his novel, a carousel represents the path of one’s lifetime, spinning in a circle, from life to death with all of the bumps, joys, and obstacles in between….but in the end, it is all worthwhile.

Works Cited Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 2001. Print.


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